Spotlighting Staff Favorites… and Staff

Yesterday @vromansupstairs, the kids and YA department at Vroman’s in Pasadena, CA, tweeted this display featuring staff picks of one specific bookseller, #BooksellerLeticia. I love the way they highlight the collection of favorites in this colorful end cap. I also like the way they promise more picks and encourage followers to check back weekly.

It’s always fun to stumble across recommendation cards while browsing shelves and displays. But this is a great way for customers to see if a specific bookseller’s reading tastes align with their own.

It’s also a great way to introduce booksellers, new or veterans, through social media. You might be a bookseller who’s been around a while, but your social media follower might be new.

300 Seconds: Website Check

When it comes to these 300-second tasks, I often focus on the store website because it is often the public face of your store, especially after business hours. If you have an eCommerce site, it’s more than a glorified YellowPages ad. In a way, you’re always open. 

Take 5 minutes today and check the content of your site. Click on menu items to make sure the links are working. Do any of the landing pages read “coming soon” or reflect maintenance? Use your 300 seconds to make a list of those pages, and then use open moments during the day to develop a plan of attack.

Also, take a moment to see how your site looks on a phone or tablet. One of my favorite stores has the search option in the right column. It looks good on my laptop, but when I want to search for an item from my phone, I have to scroll past a quite a bit of content just to get to the search box. It’s not a deal-breaker, but sometimes I do wish it were positioned closer to the top.

Remember that you can enlist your staff to help with something like this, too. Ask them to look at the site from a computer and from a phone and try to order a book, taking notes along the way. Try not to take the suggestions as criticism. Just remember that the end goal is a great customer experience.

And more whatnot.

Looking for sharable whatnot?

Last week PBS NewsHour and the New York Times announced their joint bookclub, “Now Read This.” Today they published a list of discussion questions for bookclub participants to consider as they read the January selection, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Yesterday The Millions published “Most Anticipated: The Great 2018 Book Preview.”

“I’d like to start a book club/support group for folks who dog-ear their pages.” – Tweet from Rebecca Lang, publicity manager at St. Martin’s Press.

Atlas Obscura published this piece about the village of Hobart, NY, population 403: “A Tiny New York Town With Not One, But 5 Indie Bookstores

And finally, Jacqueline Woodson officially became the 6th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature today. NPR’s Lynn Neary took a look at the current state of young people’s literature, and where Woodson would like to see it 2018.

Do you have enough business cards for Memphis?

Are you heading to Memphis in a couple of weeks? You should probably check your stock of business cards right now. Even though it probably will not take 2 weeks to produce more, it’s not a bad idea to allow the extra time.

If you do need a reprint, now’s the time to check if any of the information has changed. Here are some of the components to keep in mind when designing a business card:

  • Personalization: your name, followed by what you do.
  • The name of the store, either in text or through your logo, should be prominently placed. If your logo is your brand, use it.
  • All of your locations: the address of your brick-and-mortar store and the address of your online store.
  • Other ways you can be reached, like phone numbers (include your mobile number if you want to be reachable) and email addresses. If you depend on faxes, go ahead and list that number.
  • If you’re active on Twitter, you might consider adding your handle. Otherwise, other social media locators can be found through your website.
  • Do you find yourself continually writing missing information on the back? Consider adding that to your card.
  • And speaking of writing on the card, be sure to leave plenty of white space on the front or back. White space is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s necessary for those who want to write notes on the card. Even if you’re not a “card writer,” the recipient of your card might be.
  • One final thing before you send them off to the printer: Proofread it. Call the numbers listed, email the address you provide, and have another set of eyes make sure you didn’t miss a “dot” in your email or accidentally provide your home phone number (if you still have one of those).

If you’ve been putting off reprinting cards because of some changes expected in a few months, it’s still a good idea to print a small batch for the conference. Then send the large order to the printer when you get back in town.

Say As I Do: Chloe Benjamin

Say As I Do: Chloe Benjamin

I interviewed Chloe Benjamin last Friday for an upcoming Marginalia episode. The podcast is still in production, but you can be prepared for The Immortalists publication day armed with the knowledge of how she says her name: